There are blogs and then there are blogs. Some blogs are personal rambling anarchistic smatterings in cyberspace, and some are specific thematic information sites with regular updates. “Captains Blog” is the latter, a very specific theme being the cruise industry, but also borders very dangerously on being a spam blog.
The first clue to this accusation is the design. You know the sites you end up at when you type google.com wrong? Two tone, link heavy, faux search engine with the domain name up the top, you know the ones. Well Captains Blog looks like this. Considering the visual and overall experience of being on a cruise liner, you’d think there would be a picture of one. There are no pictures of anything, so its all rather bland.
The second clue is the parent domain name, fixed squarely in the middle of the screen in big font. The blog is really starting to look like a thinly disguised way to increase the google pagerank of the parent domain, which looks to be some kind of commercial cruise search/link page. The third most annoying clue is that every post is a link to the parent domain. The whole post, without any attempt to hide the underline in CSS so you have to read everything with it. Its surprising how difficult is it to read conformably when the whole thing is underlined.
But read I did, and found the site site was mainly just paraphrasing the contents of various cruise related articles elsewhere on the net. Its not bad writing, and it is certainly not plagiarism, but unless you are in the industry and care about this stuff, its pretty dry.
Well there is not much else I can say about this, I’ve seen them before and I will see them again. If you don’t want your blog to be instantly recognizable as a traffic phishing site, you have to put a little love into it and try not to make the link whoring so obvious. A decent theme will always attract traffic anyway, so establishing credibility on the internet is far more important than tricking people into surfing to your parent domain. They will only hit the back button anyway, and the google engineers are pretty savvy at ignoring these sites and penalizing their pageranks accordingly.